New study shows that children and adults who consumed 100% orange juice had higher-quality diets with more bioactive flavonoids and no negative effects on body weight

BARTOW, Fla.– A new population based study1 published in Frontiers in Nutrition reports that the consumption of 100% orange juice was associated with multiple dietary  and health benefits for children and adults.  Orange juice consumers had higher quality diets, higher intakes of key nutrients, including bioactive flavonoids, and lower intake of added sugars.  There were no negative effects on body weight. 

Dietary data for almost 16,000 children and adults (>2 years of age) came from the nationally representative 2013-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Washington and Albert Einstein College of Medicine and was funded by the Florida Department of Citrus.

Orange juice consumers had diets with significantly higher amounts of vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and vitamin D (adults), when compared to non-consumers. No difference in dietary fiber intakes was observed, suggesting that 100% orange juice did not displace any fiber from the diet. Notably, orange juice consumers had diets with significantly less added sugars when compared to non-consumers.

Focusing on the intakes of bioactive compounds from plants, the study found that orange juice consumers had significantly higher intakes of flavanones and total flavonoids (children), as compared to non-consumers. The flavanone, hesperidin, is provided in the diet almost exclusively by oranges and orange juice. Hesperidin may have antioxidant properties and help promote cardiovascular and brain health.2,3,4  For children, 100% orange juice may be especially important as a key source of healthful bioactives since their diets do not typically include fermented black tea, the principal source of flavonoids in the American diet.

Orange juice provides key nutrients, contributes to total fruit intake and may also serve as a marker of a healthier diet overall. For both children and adults, 100% orange juice consumers had higher-quality diets, measured using the USDA Healthy Eating Index 2015, which also tracks the consumption of grains, fruit, and vegetables, and the Nutrient Rich Food Index.. 

Importantly, there were no differences in BMI z-scores or waist circumference between children who consumed 100% orange juice and those who did not. For adults, orange juice consumers had significantly lower BMI and waist circumference. These results are consistent with the preponderance of research showing no negative effects of 100% fruit juice or orange juice consumption on body weight.5,6,7

“National data support the inclusion of 100% orange juice as part of an overall healthy diet for both children and adults.  We show that orange juice consumption was associated with better diets, less added sugar, and did not affect body weight” said Dr. Adam Drewnowski, Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Washington and principal investigator on this study.  

Just one-in-ten Americans meet their daily fruit intake as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines, missing out on important nutrients.8,9 A glass of 100% orange juice can help close that gap in a convenient, quick, and satisfying way without contributing to overweight or obesity when consumed as part of a healthy and calorie-appropriate diet. This study is cross-sectional in nature and, therefore, can only show associations and not cause and effect.

About the Florida Department of Citrus

The Florida Department of Citrus is an executive agency of Florida government charged with the marketing, research and regulation of the Florida citrus industry.  Its activities are funded by a tax paid by growers on each box of citrus that moves through commercial channels.  The industry employs more than 37,000 people, provides an annual economic impact of $6.5 billion to the state, and contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues that help support Florida’s schools, roads and health care services. For more information about the Florida Department of Citrus, please visit FloridaCitrus.org.

1 Maillot et al. Front Nutr. 2020; published online May 13
2 Rangel-Huerta et al. J Nutr. 2015;145(8):1808-1816. 
3 Morand et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;93:73–80. 
4 Kean et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;101(3):506-514. 
5 Auerbach et al. Pediatrics. 2017; 139(4): e20162454. 
6 Crowe-White et al. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2016;56(5):871-884. 
7 Sakaki et al. Nutrients. 2019;11(11):2687. 
8 USDA/DHHS. 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  
9 CDC. Disparities in State-Specific Adult Fruit and Vegetable Consumption. 2015.